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Collazo Withdraws

Archbishop Lobbies Bush

Calderon Unveils $20.6B Budget

Vieques Water Study Argued

US To Spend $1.6M On Study

Health Officials Arrive In Vieques

GOP To Meet In PR


Collazo Retires His Drug Control Office Director Nomination

March 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.

Col. Jorge Collazo formerly asked Gov. Sila Calderon on Thursday to retire his nomination for the post of Drug Control Office director. Collazo's resignation puts an end to the controversy surrounding his appointment.

His nomination came under fire when members of the New Progressive Party, the Puerto Rican Independence Party expressed their opposition because of his confessed participation in the unconstitutional practice of keeping intelligence files against people based solely on their political beliefs.

Although he publicly apologized for such actions, the argument that he was only following orders at the time did not fully convince the opposition.


San Juan Archbishop Lobbies For An Earlier Referendum In Vieques

March 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN - San Juan Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves has asked Karl Rover, political advisor to President George W. Bush, to set an earlier date for a referendum on whether the Navy should remain on the island or leave within three years. The archbishop also suggested that the option of an immediate halt to all military training in Vieques be included in the referendum.

Currently, the referendum is scheduled for Nov. 6, in accordance with the agreement reached between former President Bill Clinton and former Gov. Pedro Rossello.

Gonzalez said although Rove seemed well informed on the issues in Puerto Rico, he made no commitments.


Calderon Presents Her First State Of The Commonwealth Address

By Proviana Colon Diaz

March 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

Gov. Sila Calderon presented Wednesday the first State of the Commonwealth address and proposed a consolidated budget of $20.6 billion. The majority of the consolidated budget will be distributed as follows: 20% for education and culture, 15% for social welfare, 20% for economic development, 14% for health, 7% for public safety, and 5% for government management.


Vieques Water Study Argued

March 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved.

VIEQUES , Puerto Rico -- Islanders disputed in a public hearing Wednesday a recent U.S. study finding that the water supply on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques is safe to drink and has not been contaminated by U.S. Navy bombing exercises. Nine scientists from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said that they stand by the findings of the study that the water is safe.


US To Spend $1.6M On Vieques Study

March 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Dow Jones International News. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP)--The U.S. government has promised $1.6 million to study the health of residents of the island of Vieques , where the U.S. Navy has been carrying out bombing exercises for 50 years, Gov. Sila Calderon announced Wednesday.

Calderon said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld notified her Tuesday that the Department of Defense would transfer the money to the U.S. Department of Health. She did not give specifics about the studies, nor say if she knew when they would begin.

Former President Bill Clinton, in his last few days in office, ordered federal health authorities to investigate a Puerto Rico study showing 49 of 50 volunteers tested on Vieques had a thickening of the sac surrounding the heart, a condition called vibroacoustic disease.

The Navy has denied claims that its exercises have harmed the 9,400 residents of the Puerto Rican island.

"I hope that they will tell us soon if the bombing will be stopped while they complete these studies on the cardiovascular illnesses in Vieques ," Calderon said.


U.S. Health Officials Arrive In Vieques Amid Heavy Security

Lucinda Pineda

March 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.. All rights reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

Vieques - Members of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) arrived on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques Wednesday amid heavy police security, which did not prevent activists opposed to U.S. Navy exercizes on the island from erecting barricades.

Animosity towards the visitors was immediately made clear when Nilda Medina, spokeswoman for the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques , lashed out at ATSDR representative Arturo Block, saying that the federal agency was doing "public relations for the U.S. Navy while the people of Vieques are dying of cancer."

The agency members will answer questions concerning the results of a recent test on drinking water, which found no evidence of contamination by toxic materials, and other health issues.


Northeastern Republican Convention To Be Held In PR

March 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The Northeastern Republican Leadership Conference will take place on the Island, said Republican National Committeewoman in Puerto Rico Zoraida Fonalledas.

The convention is expecting 250 participants and will take place between May 10 to 13 on the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Isla Verde.

Fourteen U.S. jurisdictions are included in the northeastern region. They are Connecticut, Delaware, Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont the Virgin Islands.

The Conference will discuss among other issues the reorganization process, the Hispanic vote and Presidents' Bush agenda.

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